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Healthcare’s Hacked: 5 Companies that Could’ve Prevented It

Security is the top concern among those looking to adopt the internet of things in critical environments, and there has been a major event today that highlights our need to increase our cyber security technology across these industries.

 In summary, a NSA leaked vulnerability is affecting thousands of computers at a furiously increasing rate, and they’ve been focused in organizations where data is most critical: hospitals.

What’s happening?

A cyberattack is hitting computers, systems, and devices. Currently, there have been 45,000 attacks across 74 countries (growing by the minute, literally), but the hack’s currently saturated in the UK’s National Health Services (NHS). The NHS includes hospitals and clinician services, and it’s spreading to similar systems throughout Spain and Portugal.

A virus?

More specifically, this is ransomware – malware that encrypts data and locks out the user.

Computers are receiving a pop-up message demanding $300 in exchange for access to the device, and there’s a 7 hour, ticking countdown until all the data is deleted. From patient records, appointment schedules, internal phone lines and emails, to connections between computers and medical equipment; all devices are being deemed inaccessible and staff are being forced to turn to pen and paper.

The virus is similar to a $17,000 ransom that a Los Angeles Hospital paid last year, to regain control of their critical computer operation system.

What’s the status of the hospital patients?

At least 33 hospitals  have been affected in the UK. Emergency rooms are diverting patients, ambulances are backed up, surgeries delayed, and non-urgent patients are being turned away.

Was the US attacked?

This is the real story. No, the US hasn’t been attacked yet. And likely because the NSA knew about the risks of the virus, because it was leaked from their Equation Group hacking tools by Shadow Brokers. The virus is wielding a leaked cyber weapon EternalBlue, which attacks SMB file-sharing services.

So, how can we solve this?

The most promising solution includes blockchain integration among data sharing devices. By using a distributed ledger, data cannot be held hostage on any single device. A computer can still be locked, but the data cannot be erased and will be securely held among a set of devices.

Until we find and implement a solution, entire industries will resist IoT adoption, despite a long list of potential benefits it could provide. Connected devices in healthcare will monitor patients more efficiently, to the point of saving lives, it will significantly reduce health care costs, and increase the overall livelihood of the entire population, but there is no future for these opportunities until security is addressed.

Companies using blockchain to secure the IoT:

 

Interest in learning more about these players, or other companies in the world of IoT security?

Contact us at info@harborresearch.com

Additionally, Harbor Research’s security, AI, and blockchain expert Adam Hise will be moderating a panel on IoT Security at Boulder Startup Week on Monday, May 15th at 11:00 am

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